“ACT can reveal that more than $1 million was spent trying to bribe people into filling out their Census, and the Statistics Minister Deborah Russell has no idea whether the bribes even worked,” says ACT’s Statistics spokesperson Damien Smith.

Written Parliamentary Questions from Russell provide a breakdown of the money spent on “incentives”:

- $934,130 on supermarket, petrol, and movie vouchers
- $41,080 on Warriors tickets
- $54,960 on vouchers distributed alongside the Warriors tickets

“What was the outcome of $1,030,170 in taxpayer-funded bribes? The Minister doesn’t know, she says in her answer to my question “the total number of census forms completed as a result of the incentive is impossible to know.”

“Despite throwing a million dollars at the problem, the Minister hasn’t even met her own threshold to remain in the job. In March she told media that if the Census didn’t hit the 90 per completion target, she would resign. The last updated Census figure was 89 per cent. Will she stand by her own call to resign?

“What Labour can’t comprehend is that there are ways to do things that don’t involve bribes and spending other peoples’ money. For example, ACT suggested that beneficiaries should have to fill out their census form for them to continue receiving their benefits.

“Unfortunately, this is business as usual for Labour; underdelivering, spending wildly in the process, and failing to take responsibility.”

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